Fintechs have opened business beyond local borders - expert

Thursday November 7 2019

Active role. Mr Godfrey Mutabazi shakes hands

Active role. Mr Godfrey Mutabazi shakes hands with Ms Rashmi Pillai, the FSDU executive director during the Fintechs Festival in Kampala yesterday. The festival seeks to create collaborative platforms through which Fintechs can play an active role in Africa’s digital economy. PHOTO BY MARTIN LUTHER OKETCH  

By MARTIN LUTHER OKETCH

African businesses must think beyond local markets as the world enters a technology revolution that has created borderless transaction.

Speaking during the two-day Africa Financial Technology Festival in Kampala yesterday, Mr Hennie Bester, the Programme Director at Insight2 Impact, which is based in Cape Town, South Africa, said that the private sector and African governments must work towards embracing new markets given the rapid changes in the global business environment.

“To make it globally digitally, Africans must think [beyond their borders]. Our governments must do the same because markets are now leading and not politics,” he said, noting that African governments have enormous challenges ahead of them not to over-react with data sovereignty rules, but to innovative around protecting citizens from exploitation.

The two-day Fintechs festival, which is supported by Financial Technology Service Providers Association of Uganda and Financial Sector Deepening Uganda, seeks to create collaborative platforms through which Fintechs can play an active role in growing Africa’s digital economy.

Mr Bester said it was time for Africa to become innovators and technology developers in order to stop cheap technology-related imports that are currently flooding the continent.

“We will remain technology takers unless we develop broad-based digital and technology skills that can catapult us into the realm of technology makers,” he warned.

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Financial technology (Fintech) is a major force shaping the structure of the financial industry in sub-Saharan Africa.

New technologies are being developed and implemented in sub-Saharan Africa with the potential to change the competitive landscape in the financial sector.

Fintechs have challenged traditional structures and created efficiency alternatives whose gains have been enormous in the last 10 years.

Today, Fintech is emerging as a technological enabler in the region, improving financial inclusion and serving as a catalyst for innovation in other sectors, such as agriculture and infrastructure.

Partnerships

According to Mr Godfrey Mutabazi, the Uganda Communications Commission executive director, Ugandan Fintech innovators must form partnerships with various companies to provide efficient and cost-effective services.
“So there is need to foster partnership and deepen the financial sector in Uganda,” he said.
Mr Hennie said the most digitised sector in Africa is the financial sector, which he is said, has made Fintechs the most studied and invested in area on the continent currently.

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